I am worried sick about my Xmas vacation I have booked flights separately does this mean I am going to get a hefty bill from sandals for my booking, I got such a good deal from couples and cannot afford to pay anymore?
Don't think you have anything to worry about. Actually you have a unique opportunity to say at both Couples and Sandals in the same week without changing resorts ...
While our preference and love is Couples, we have stayed and still periodically stay at Sandals and you can expect overall the same general experience and guidelines, such as the strict no tipping policy.
According to Randymon, the rate you paid, regardless of when you actually go, if you choose that option, Sandal's will honor that rate.
Sounds as if Couples only leased the property and that the lease agreement provided a provision for the owners to sell the property if given the opportunity. While this is a somewhat common provision in residential rentals, was surprised. But hopefully there was provisions for Couples to recover their investment in upgrading and publicizing the resort.
My husband and I returned last Sunday and had the most amazing holiday. I have read the reviews over the months but was encouraged by the more positive comments recently. I am so disappointed that it has been sold to Sandals as we would definitely have returned. So here are my thoughts:-
- Staff - 99% of the staff were excellent, always cheerful and helpful and really made our holiday through the relaxed atmosphere they created. Nothing is too much trouble.
- Accommodation - We were in Block 5 at the back of the complex but this was not an issue at all as it is just a short walk through beautiful gardens to get to the main pool, restaurant and bar and it is a good position if you want somewhere quieter. Just outside our block there was a pool which was rarely used but was cleaned every morning. We were on the first floor and there wasn't a lift but that was not a problem for us and our luggage was taken to and from our room. We had a comfortable and clean room with a 6 ft bed, lounge area, bathroom and balcony. It was always kept clean and tidy both morning and evening. We had an issue with our TV - which turned itself on in the middle of the night !! - but this was sorted as soon as we reported it. The air conditioning kept the lounge and bedroom really cool. We had a mini bar and the first night were disappointed because we didn't have our requested drink delivered but they certainly made up for that on the 2 nd night by delivering a really good bottle of rum which was most appreciated by my husband. If I had any criticism of the room it would be the shower - which wasn't brilliant but it was functional. The best part of the room was the room service - we spent several mornings sat on our balcony enjoying a continental breakfast which we requested the evening before and was delivered at our preferred time - wonderful start to the day!
Food - We aren't the easiest people to please as I am not very good with spicy and I don't eat meat and my husband is gluten free so food is always an issue for us on holiday. I think this is the first holiday I have been on when I didn't feel like I needed to come home and eat a bowl of vegetables. Breakfast - room service at no extra cost, buffet restaurant with Tony cooking eggs and omelettes to order with a smile and a chat, usual continental type options, bacon, sausages, fruit yoghurts etc, and fruit smoothie bar where you could get juices, freshly made smoothies or Bucks Fizz (mimosa). For early risers after watching the sunrise on the beach at 6am there are continental options and tea and coffee from 530am. Lunch - pool grill selling burgers, lunchtime buffet with hot and salad options or the Yes Please offering veggie options, sandwiches, veg juices and sweet potato crisps and hummus. Evening - Dover Grill - booking required but not an issue during our stay - 5 course a la carte restaurant which is positioned on the beach.
Entertainment - during the day there is usually some type of fitness class, beach games and a favourite with the people we made friends with - water volley ball every day at 2pm, also jewellery making and tie dying. In the evening the Caribbean night was a favourite with stilt walkers and limbo and we enjoyed the late night discos twice a week with DJCool in the piano bar after an earlier singalong. There was also a movie night on the beach which we didn't try and a weekly trip to the fish fry at OIstins - popular with tourists and locals.
Trips - the catamaran sunset cruise was amazing. Ours was rearranged due to poor weather conditions but when we went the weather was perfect. We anchored for 45 minutes to swim with the turtles - I am a very weak swimmer and have never snorkelled before and had a panic attack as soon as I got into the water but one of the guys on the boat was so lovely to me and encouraged me to try and give it a go - I relaxed finally and managed to actually see the turtles. He made my holiday! Afterwards it was back to the boat as you sail a bit further out with drinks and banana bread before stopping to watch the sunset. Absolutely beautiful! This trip is included in the holiday and I would strongly recommend it. We also went to Bridgetown - but there is not much to see there and we paid for a trip to the caves and nature reserve. There were only 4 of us so we had a taxi to take us and the driver just waited and we weren't under any pressure at all to stick to a time limit. The caves were much more interesting than I had anticipated.
So that's my opinion of Couple Barbados - from the welcome at the airport to the coach back after our 10 day stay it was absolutely wonderful. I hope that the staff don't change with the new ownership because they are what make it really special.
Not sure what more to say than what is stated on the original announcement. The resort is not closing, just a change of signage. Staff remains. All amenities and activities promised by Couples will be delivered by Sandals.
Yes, we will receive a refund of the $$$$ we spent on upgrades and enhancements.
BTW - Couples Tower Isle has been ranked as one of the top resorts in the Caribbean AND was voted the number 1 hotel spa in the Caribbean by Travel+Leisure Readers in the 2013 World's Best Awards.